Biggest Headline of 2009: New Moon Mania

After Twilight blew up the box office a year ago, the fan base for Stephenie Meyer's vampire romance series seemed to explode exponentially — suddenly everyone was rabid for developments about the sequel. Yes, 2009 was dominated by New Moon — whether you liked it or not, the movie and its stars were everywhere.

The pressure on the movie's studio, Summit, to make a bigger and better sequel was high, resulting in some shakeups behind the camera as well as in front. First, Summit dumped director Catherine Hardwicke for Chris Weitz, who'd be more adept at the special effects for the werewolves of New Moon. Then it was rumored that Taylor Lautner, who had originated the role of Jacob Black in Twilight, might be recast. This prompted the actor to put on almost 30 pounds of muscle to mirror his character's transformation, which helped secure his part in the second movie.

To read about the rest of New Moon's 2009 time line, just read more.

Other casting rumors came fast and furious. Many proved false, as in the case of both Madonna and Vanessa Hudgens, but some came true: Dakota Fanning scored the part of vampire villain Jane. Other Volturi casting news followed, with the likes of respected actor Michael Sheen and up-and-comer Jamie Campbell-Bower scoring parts.

As production on the film motored on, tidbits of information began leaking out prompting me to theorize five reasons the movie might be good. Then suddenly we had more than a few pieces of the puzzle: we finally got an official poster to gaze at, and a first official trailer. Then, stills started pouring out, and pouring out, and pouring out — to the point where I had to ask if spoilers were ruining New Moon.

However, saturated we were with movie news, it seemed everyone was still hungry for more — another trailer premiered at the VMAs with additional footage. It wasn't all just eye candy, either; I was excited about New Moon's soundtrack when the track list was revealed, along with a preview of Death Cab for Cutie's original song, "Meet Me on the Equinox." When it premiered in October, I gave it a listen and a positive review.

As the movie's premiere date got closer, the cast began stepping out for promotions, landing on magazine covers, late night talk shows, and red carpets (and chatting with me!). While we all speculated on Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's real-life relationship, the cast nailed down new parts. (I also gave you a peek at what they were doing in their pre-New Moon days).

Finally, November 20 arrived and New Moon premiered in theaters. I reviewed the movie, telling you why I liked it more than Twilight. But, it didn't matter what I or any other critics said — New Moon was on its way to break box office records. First, it shattered the record for midnight ticket sales, then single-day sales, settling in at the number one spot at the box office with the third biggest weekend opening in history.

There's still a bit of madness floating around from this year's vampire and werewolf mania, but things are quieting around the Twilight camp . . . until the Eclipse craziness starts in 2010, anyway.

Don't forget to check out all of my Best of 2009 stories and polls as we get closer to the end of year!

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